tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 2, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
disaster the gulf. good night, and good luck. to discuss why tea partiers are choosing colonial williamsburg for their vacations, the answer is people are not wearing enough hats. >> i have to warn you there's a hat prop in my show if you want to start shielding your eyes now. >> across america, people are getting the dvr pause buttons so they can get their screen caps ready. here we go again. >> another way to know that i will never run for office. i will willingingly put a hat on on camera. >> how is that? >> good to have you back, my friend. >> thanks for staying with us for the next hour as well. my vacation is, in fact, over. which is good timing. the blue fish of cape cod are really angry with me. also, because there's a ton of news to get to, this is spoized to -- supposed to be the dog days, but, wow, it isn't. the big iraq speech tonight.
it's one of the president's most stringent critics on the war and policy. as the president mentioned, the actors in colonial williamsburg are unwitting tea party mascots. the religious right is very upset about the possibility of homosexuals on trains. and the most interesting story of the day is about blackberries in the desert. that is all coming up this hour. but, first, have you heard -- have you heard about what happened in texas? you haven't heard, oh, my god, listen to this. okay, so, here's laredo, texas. we have laredo on a map? yes, it's down there in southern texas. laredo is very close to mexico. it's like right across from mexico. do you want to know what happen in laredo? the yoid hear what happened in laredo? oh, my god, a mexican drug gang called the zedas rampaged over the border and took over two ranches in laredo, texas. american ranches now being run right now by a mexican drug
gang. presumably, blik the cattle on the ranch are being herded by that mexican drug gang. all of the rancher's stuff being used by the mexican drug gang. all the tractors being driven by the mexican drug gang. mexican gangs have breached the border. the invasion from mexico has begun. did you hear about it? did you hear about it? if you live in right wingville in this country, i'm sure you have heard all about it. none of it is true. none of those things actually happened. but you'd never know it in right wing-ville. it's a great story, right? it was fed by a tiny blog and it spread like wild fire across conservative corners of the internet. it was hailed as an act of war against the sovereign borders of the united states. it made its way to the blog of a conservative fox news commentator named michelle malkin. it made it to the blog of the conservative activist who peddled the fake, "shirley
sherrod is a racist" scandal. drug cartel gunmen invade texas. ranches seized. the only problem, of course, not true. justlaredo. the web county sheriff said, quote, our deputies went throughout and talked to the ranch owners in the area and found nothing. and, quote, basically everyone was shrugging their shoulders. there was no proof or evidence that was found. how does a story like this go that far around wingnutville while plainly exculpatory, plainly contradictory evidence is out there when the people who know if it was true when asked say it's not true. how does a story like this get so much traction? it's because it's a good story. particularly if you're looking to gin up your political base on the issue of immigration. particularly if what you need to rile up your case is a good scare white people story. there's a good but fake story
out there about scary nonwhite people doing scary things all reported by conservative news outlets in a way to gin up maximum fear. but in immigration politics, the fake scary immigrant stories are legion. you might have heard the one about phoenix, arizona being the number two kidnapping capital of the world. that's become a main stream conservative talking point that's been trotted out over and over again by republicans, when politifact, texas checked that out made by the lieutenant governor of texas back in june, they found it to be, and i quote, false. but john mccain repeated it a few weeks later on "meet the press". >> why is it that phoenix, arizona is the number two kidnapping capital of the world. does that mean our border is safe? of course not. >> same claim, same results -- and i quote, false according to politifact. despite that, republican senator jon kyl, undaunted, is still
going for it. this is this weekend. >> phoenix is a very large source of kidnapping. it's called the kidnapping capital of the united states. >> like it's too good of a talking point to stop using it even though it's not true. jon kyl distinguished himself by going to great detail about how awful illegal immigration has made crime in his home state of arizona, a state you would think he would care to know some factual things about. >> some of the border towns that were thought to be susceptible to law breaking of illegal immigrants, the crime is down. crime in phoenix is down significantly over the last couple of years. >> well, that's a -- that's a gross generalization. property crimes are up. certain property crimes on certain parts of the citizenry are up. >> property crimes are up, violent crimes are up -- define up, senator kyl. let's take property crimes first. there were about 231,000 property crimes in the state of
arizona last year, in 2009. that was down from the year before, which had about 262,000 property crimes. a number that was down from the year before that, which was down from the year before that. property crimes there, down in arizona right now. senator kyl also mentioned violent crimes being up. let's have a look at what he thinks about up in this con tech. in 2009, there were 26,000 violent crime offenses in arizona, a number down from the year before. which was also down from the year before that. which happened to be down from the year before that. so, down, down, down, down, down -- also known in anti-immigrant white people politics known as up. >> the united states of america has an unsecured border between arizona and mexico which has led to violence, the worst i have ever seen and numbers that stagger those who are unfamiliar with the issues. >> they are staggering numbers
for the exact opposite reason of what you mean. whether or not you want to run on an anti-immigrant platform is up to you. it's a political decision. everyone gets to chootz. as they say, you do not get to choose your own facts. republicans have decided that running against immigrants is once again a great electoral opportunity for them, at least in the primaries. but they have apparently decided that they need some very extreme scare white people stories this time around to justify this year's crop of anti-immigrant proposals that they want to run on. republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina, for example, at one point in his career, he was thought of a relatively positive driven guy. a relative fact-based republican. how far he's come. last week, senator graham floated the idea of rescinding the 14th amendment to the constitution. that's the one that says if you're born here, you're a u.s. citizen. put in to place after the civil war so slaves could not be denied citizenship.
lindsey graham wants to do away with that and the idea of rescinding that has gained support from republican senator jon kyl as well as the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell. if you think about it, you have to come up with extreme stories about how awful immigration is in order to justify extreme stuff like repealing the 14th amendment. sure, repealing the 14th amendment is a radical idea, but it's exactly what we need if the zetas are driving tractors in laredo. they bring it up cyclicly. when ever it's good for the electoral hopes. it's at least a good republican primary issue, not a good general election issue. illegal immigration has to be refashioned into a crisis for every electoral cycle that republicans want to use it. but the overall fact about illegal immigration, and this is going to shock you if you've been paying attention to some of the darker corners of the internet, the overall fact about
illegal immigration is that it's not actually getting worse. what you're looking at is a graph of border patrol ap rehenges in the last 30 years. illegal immigration is by definition hard to measure, it's illegal and covert. but it's one of the best static measures we've got of the scale of the problem over time. you can see here, the number of apprehensions made back in 1978 over there in the left side of the graph, roughly identical to the number of apprehensions in 2008. look at the last ten years, look at what's happened since the year 2000. apprehensions have cratered. republicans have to make it seem like illegal immigration is getting worse. every election cycle is more and more and more of them. so if you look at the best information we've got about illegal immigration, it's a relatively static measure that's been relatively the same for roughly my entire lifetime. seemed to most fluctuate is whether or not there are jobs here for people to do. but don't tell that to the professional hysteria mongers
who think the zetas have taken over ranches in texas. it's too good a story. it's too scary to white people to give up. who cares if it's true? joining us is estrada, the sheriff of santa cruz county, arizona right on the border with mexico. thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you for the opportunity again. >> the political rhetoric coming from the politicians right now on the issue of immigration might lead a person to believe that crime is cry rocketing in your part of the country, in the border companies. crime is out of control in a way in a it never has been before. what are you finding as sheriff of a border county in arizona. >> those claims are actually crazy. you think we're dodging bullets every day down here. that's not the case. like you inld kated before, apprehensions are down. drug seizures are down. we are seeing less violence, i think, here along the border. the activity continues to be
here. this is a porous border here and a lot of activity through southern arizona, in particular, the tucson sector and nogales and santa cruz county. that's going to continue. that's going to go on for years. there's nothing special about it. they're everyoreally exemplifyi they're enhancing it. i don't think that's right. they're scaring a lot of people. >> nogales, it's in santa cruz county where you're sheriff in arizona. can you tell us about crime rates, say, in nogales compared to roughly a decade ago. if you listen to the politicians, again, things have become exponentially worse in the last ten years. is that true? >> we haven't experienced anything really drastic or different. things are still the same here along the border. the active tiff continity seems same. crime is the same. we haven't seen an increase in anything. the others are the influx of illegals coming through in the last ten years but it's been
holding stelddy for a while now. >> does the politically charged rhetoric about violent crime exploding across the border, does the rhetoric as you're saying some distance from the facts there, does it make your job as sheriff easier or harder? >> i'm having problems. there's a train going by here. if i understood you correctly -- you know, you're -- you're saying about beheadings and the desert. you're saying that, you know, illegal immigrants are all bringing drugs across the border. you know, that's not right, fair, and that's not true. i've been here for four decades and i have not seen that the greater majority of the illegal immigrants that come through the border here are not bringing in drugs and we have not had any beheadings in santa cruz county. we have found skeletal remains -- you will find a skull here and there because the animals probably can't deal with something that big. but, you know, we're not having that type of violence. we're not having that. what we are seeing and what is happening is obviously to some
of these valleys in santa cruz county, we've seen groups vying for the territory. they're ripping each other off. they're -- there's violence out there. it's not the residents of santa cruz county. we've been kind of isolated again. i think it has to do with the groups, the cartels wanting to have nothing to do with law enforcement on the arizona side. they want to get their product. they want to get the merchants to tucson and phoenix. they don't want to attract any attention. so that's a safety net, not only for law enforcement but for now, but for the residents of santa cruz county. i think they've really been -- the rhetoric has been far out. >> santa cruz county sheriff antonio estrada, braving the streets of santa cruz county every day. and braving a very loud freight train for us tonight. sheriff estrada, thank you very much for your time tonight. nice to have you back on the show. >> thank you, rachel. have a great day. >> thanks. all right, so, have you seen
pictures of the guards outside of bucking hamm palace. you can try to make them laugh. they stand there all stow any faced and not react. in america, we don't have guys outside of bucking hamm palace, obviously. but we do have colonial reenactors that have to stay in character and stay all 1700s-y no matter what happens around them, even say when tea parriers are trying to adopt them as their unwitting mascots and try to make the reenactors comment on obama care. leave the reenactors alone. coming up next.
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if you suddenly suffer from psychosis if you're in jerusalem, if you were previously delusion-free, if your psychosis can be described as religious in theme, you, my friend, might be suffering from jerusalem syndrome. the spontaneous religious psychosis attributed to being in the city of jerusalem. sufferers believe they're biblical figures like john the baptist or the virgin mary. they've been wandering around the desert, swadled in a bed sheet, awaiting the birth of baby jesus. the only way to avoid it is stay away from it. it's a geographically dependent disorder. here in the united states, we
may have a parallel syndrome afflicting some of the conservative movement. it's associated with a time period rather than a geography. it began with anti-immigration activists so dedicated to defending the country's borders that they got all of bernard getzy, travelled down to the border, got all vigilante and called themselveses it minute men. a colonial re-enactment in the revolutionary war. unlike the name sake, the minute men were and are a little embarrassing. the founder of the minute ploonlgt was accused this year of selling the endorsement to political candidates, as in, you hire a firm to which this man has ties and the great jim gilchrist will lend you his immigration-hating name for his campaign. classy. the whole glenn beckish tea party thing. it got off to an aesthetic start
when mr. beck published his version of thomas paine's political pamphlet, "common sense," mr. beck's version is called "common sense" by glenn beck. it resembles the pages just like the founding fathers used to write their screens against the out-of-control american government. the parchment was the "mt. vernon statement" named after george washington's estate. it was an incipient list of conservative principles vague and watered down that even i, a liberal commie thinko can relate to most of them. at tar party protests, one simply must wear double breasted hats. try corn hat optional, but strongly encouraged. it looks like you're wearing three perfectly blocked baseball hats all at once with the brims
evenly distributed around your head. but things now despite the emerging aesthetic, things have gone too far. "the washington post" is reporting that self-identified tea partiers are flocking to colonial, williamsburg and claiming it as their own. they attend all of the big events with the patrick henrye enactor and the thomas jefferson reenactor. they cheer at tea party-approved sentiments and call on the reenactors to challenge. give me liberty, give me death, but don't you dare give me obama care. you know what? politics aside -- just seriously here for a moment, can we just all agree that reenactors should be left alone. the colonial williamsburg foundation is a nonpartisan and nonprofit thing. reenactors work very hard for their money in some very restrictive structural garments. while you're trying to justify your political beliefs in a
tete-a-tete with jefferson, jefferson is just trying to do his job. his job means not breaking character long enough to tell you that he really doesn't want to talk to you about t.a.r.p. so, everybody, please, leave the reenactors along. hands off all petticoats, waistcoats, and frocks. your country thanks you. ♪ a day once dawned ♪ ♪ and it was beautiful ♪ ♪ so, look, see the sights ♪ that you learned [ male announcer ] at&t covers 97% of all americans. at&t. rethink possible. buy a pantech messaging phone like the impact, and get a pantech messaging phone free after mail-in rebate. keller graduate school of management, you'll have a professor with you every step of the way. whether you take classes on campus, online, or both,
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mcchrystal starth starts like this. -- since plk chris mcchrystal took over a year ago, the afghan war has been the exclusive copy of the united states. it toppled the dutch government, and sparked both canada and the netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4500 troops. that's how the article started. the troops from the netherlands did leave afghanistan yesterday. 1900 soldiers pulled out of afghanistan this weekend a couple of months after the ruling coalition in their government was thrown out of power in part because of how much the dutch did not want to keep their troops in the war. not that hard to imagine a government being thrown out out
of dissatisfaction with an ongoing, ongoing, ongoing, ongoing, ongoing, ongoing land war and land-locked central asia. look what happened here in iraq in 2006. >> last night's vote was seen as a message. a protest vote on the war in iraq. >> exit polls show that voters want a new approach to the war in iraq. >> turned out to be a referendum on the president and the war in iraq. >> most americans are sick and tired of the war in iraq. on tuesday, they made their voices heard at the ballot box. america got introduced to nancy pelosi and harry reid because democrats took control of the house and the senate in large part on the strength of anti-iraq war sentiment in this country. by the next election, which started five minutes after the midterms, democrats positioned themselves early in the presidential field on the strength of their opposition to the iraq war. it was one of the definitive early edges that candidate barack obama took over the then
presumptive nominee, hillary clinton. >> the last point i'll make is on iraq, senator clinton brought this up. i was opposed to iraq from the start. i say that to look backwards but also to look forwards. the next the president has to show the judgment to ensure we're using our military power wisely. >> several people are add mately opposed to the war in iraq like senator durbin voted the way i did and he thought if there was the pretense that could be use in the language in the nonbinding resolution to give george bush any support to go to war, he wouldn't have voted for it. neither would have i. >> she voted for a war and said this is a war that -- for diplomacy. i don't think that -- that might be political savvy. i don't think it offers the clear contrast we need. >> by the time barack obama was
elected president, the iraq war was not the definitive issue it had been early on in the campaign. frankly the financial crisis overtook everything else in the universe of voter concerns. also in part, the u.s. troops leaving iraqi cities had quieted the daily reports of americans in danger there. still, though, the new president posed to the inaugural address to leave iraq to his people. a month later, he spoke in detail about doing just that. he spoke about it to the marines of camp lejeune in north carolina. same quote -- today i have come to speak to you about how the war in iraq will end. let me say this as plainly as i can. by august 31, 2010, our combat mission in iraq will end. i intend to remove all u.s. troops from iraq by the end of 2011. and so it goes. say good-bye to iraqi freedom. that ends at the end of this month when operation new dawn begins. a month from now, new dawn will
be used to describe what 50,000 american troops will be doing in iraq for another year. the president today addressed the impending change of admission in iraq when he vote to the vets' group, disabled american veterans in atlanta. >> as a candidate for president, i pledged to bring the war in iraq to a responsible end. shortly after taking office -- i announced a new strategy for iraq and a tran physician for full iraqi responsible. and i made it clear by august 31, 2010, america's combat mission in iraq would end. and that is exactly what we are doing.
as promised and on schedule. >> it is true that what's happening in iraq is an end to the combat mission this month. it is true that president obama is doing what he said he would do about iraq. but he's also doing what george w. bush obligated us to do in iraq. our war toppled saddam hussein, of course, iraq got a new government. the u.n. never signed off on bush invading iraq, the way we could keep the troop there is without being in violation of international law that the u.n. security council said it was okay for us to stay there. but the iraqi government asked the u.n. to stop saying that, to stop giving authorization for foreign troops to occupy their country. and so george w. bush negotiated a date certain by which we promised to leave. and now that president coming after him is king good on that deal. the exact end date for the combat operations part of the mission slid around for a while, but it settled on the end of this month. that the all clear all out date
is still this time next year. it's the date that bush agreed with the iraqis. same plan to leave, different presidents. we are in year eight of one of our wars, we're in year nine of another of our wars. both started during/by the previous administration. should we expect we get a break of that now? president obama with disabled american veterans told the story of an army ranger severely wounded on his tenth deployment. his tenth. the man is 27 years old. ten combat deployments. does that mean that the new president means that the last president's war gets wound down? is there a tangible life-and-death difference now between presidents on national security -- between democrats and the republicans, will the afghanistan war end and soon? is it possible that another war won't just take its place? the next guest for the interview tonight says the answer to the questions is probably no. that the foreign policy consensus is beyond politics,
beyond partisanship, that the price of admission, the criteria for being taken seriously in washington is embracing a vision of america that essentially requires us to be at war one way or the other all the time. he's one of the most insistent readable compelling critics we've got in this country right now on any subject. he's next. stay with us. when i grow up, i want to fix up old houses. i'm going to work with kids. i want to run a marathon. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. i want to take him on his first flight. [ female announcer ] discover the best of what's next at aarp.org.
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an illinois state senator stood up before an anti-war rally in chicago. he described is a dad hussein as a bad guy who iraq and the world would be better without. and senator obama said this -- quote, i also know saddam poses no direct threat, no imminent and direct threat to the united states or to his neighbors. that the iraqi economy is in shambles, that the iraqi military a fraction of its former strength and in concert with the international community, he can be contained. until he falls away to the dust bin of history. a successful war against iraq
will require a u.s. occupation of undetermined length at undetermined costs with undetermined consequences. invasion of iraq without a rationale and international support will only fan the flames of the middle east and encourage the worst better than the best impulses of the world. i'm not oh poed to all wars, he said, i'm opposed to dumb wars. the number of u.s. troops in iraq since the young state senator became president of the united states was dropped by 9 ,000 and will drop to zero by this time next year. the number of troops in afghanistan since the young state senator became president has tripled. joining us is the professor of history and international relations. he retired at the rank of courage after 23 years and he's author of the new book, "washington rules", america's path to permanent war. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me on the program. >> do you think's no difference
between democrats and republi n republicans on the biggest most important issues in national security? >> the differences are far smaller than one would con cluld from all of the rhetoric and the hype. i've long believed that if you're looking at the big truths about the american politics, how washington works, you don't look at the differences between the republicans and the democrats, you look for the continuitiecon and i think when it comes to the national security policy, going all the way wac to the beginning of the cold war, the continuities are quite evident and very strong and continue down to the present day with the president to promise he was going to change washington works. >> and that to you boils down to washington rules. the credo that america has to determine sort of the means by which the rest of the world is allowed to run and we need to enforce that by global military dominance, that means having
troops everywhere all over the world, being able to project force everywhere all over the world and being repeatedly almost in a recidivist way being interventionist all the time? >> exactly right. i was struck by that quotation from state senator obama who at that point is not a creature of washington and who in that quotation reflected, i think, a real skepticism about the way we do our national security policy. that skepticism today with president obama has long-since vanished. i mean, you have to be struck by the fact that president obama has followed a path in afghanistan that is probably identical to the path that senator mccain would have followed had we elected senator mccain president. there is no real change when it comes to national security policy. and as someone who voted for the
president and admires the president, i have to say that that absen of change is not only disappointing, i think, it may even qualify as tragic. >> but the difference that i see between theoretical mccain presidency and the actual obama presidency in afghanistan is that withdrawal deadline. the administration is taking great pains to make that withdrawal deadline next summer squishy. if there is no withdrawal, you're right. if there is withdrawal, if they do wind that word down and end it and don't let it go on permanently, is that a potential crack in the consensus? is it a break in permanent war, sort of an opportunity to question that as a default path? oh. >> it could well be. but i mean the scenario that you're suggesting is one that which president obama in the summer of 2011 is an effect, i think, going to have to say the decision i made back in december of 2009 was a -- was an incorrect decision. and now please elect me to a second term as your president.
i mean, he is going to be i think in a real political pickle. because when we get to next summer, it's highly unlikely that the -- the conditions in afghanistan will be any better than they are today. >> can't that -- >> the counterinsurgency strategy devised by general mcchrystal and endorsed by general petraeus is not working. >> couldn't that reasonably be a grounds to explain why we're leaving though, to say, hey, counterinsur general counterinsurgency is not making anything better? let's do it in a diplomatic way. >> i would hope that he would say that. and, indeed, if he did, if -- if we have seen the failure of the conventional military strum, we've seen the failure of shock and awe. counterinsurgency is supposed to be kind of the new american way of war that does it better. if the president says, well,
count counterinsurgency doesn't work either, then, yes, that really could, i think, create an opportunity for a fundamental rethinking of how we imagined military power can be -- can be utilized. and we'd find ourselves greatly sort of shrinking the domain in which we would see military power as useful -- something i think is wonderful. i think the politics are going to make that very, very difficult for him to do. >> it is interesting. i've read all of your books. i've interviewed you a number of times as you know. i find your thinking on this stuff interesting. i felt like in this, in washington rules, i started to see through your eyes the way that you decry, this consensus, might end. it's conceivable. i don't think you're hopeful about it. i do think it's conceivable. >> i think, to my mind, if it's ever -- if the consensus is ever going to be confronted and challenged, i believe that the challenge is going to have to come from us. it's going to have to come from americans.
and alas, that's not going to happen until americans come to appreciate all of the consequences of our misguided wars. some of those consequences are moral. some of those consequents are fiscal. i think some of those consequences are strategic. alas, in this open-ended military project that began after 9/11, the american people have pretty much checked out of the net, you know? very few of us sacrificed. not too many of us served. none of us are even asked to pony up the money to pay for these wars. that just gets passed on to somebody -- some other generation to deal with. so, we, the people, i think, have failed in our responsibility as much as our political leaders have failed in their responsibility in this regard. >> professor andrew basovich. thanks for your service in the army and as a critic of foreign policy and war policy in your time since leaving the army. as i said, i've been a real
admirer of yours for a long time. thanks for being on the show. >> thank you very much. >> the book is called "washington rules -- america's path to permanent war". okay, so do you or someone you know have a phobia about gay people riding on amtrak. a story that will address that deep, strange fear is next. not aleve. nothing lasts longer than advil. pain relief that lasts. one more reason to make advil your #1 choice.
given the option, i prefer the train to the car or the blimp or whatever else is available. i like the cafe car, for example. i pay attention to amtrak news. amtrak has announced it wants to spend $125,000 on an advertising campaign targeting potential passengers, gay passengers. we are always looking for new ways to reach potential passengers and this community travels a lot. i can't speak for this community's travel habits or anything else, but if there's research about the gay traveling all a lot and amtrak is getting them to take the trains, it seems like a business strategy. there's a vocal group that hates it idea of the government trying to encourage people people who have the gay from riding amtrak. we asked kent jones, of course, to look into that. hi, kent.
>> hi, welcome back. that group is, shocker, the family research council, which has a long, long history of opposing all things gay. their problem this time -- gay locomotion. take a look. >> reporter: in the snack car, in the bar car, in the very next seat -- there's no escape from "gays on a train." the family research council wants to start america's trains from becoming a train-bow. listen to the frc action alert, quote, if there was ever proof that the obama administration had gone off of the rails, it's amtrak. in a very real sense, this ad campaign is a federal endorsement of homosexual behavior, one of the most serious public health threats in america. using taxpayer funds to promote this ad campaign is insulting to the millions of americans who have deeply held moral convictions against homosexuality.
yet washington is targeting the demographically small homosexual population, probably because marketing surveys suggest it is also one of the richest. so let's be honest. this administration is more interested in riding the gravy train than getting the culture back on track. so if obama has his way, the glam track will be swarming with gays, rich gays, reading their rich gay magazines, listening to their rich gay ipods, feeling like they have the freedom to go wherever they want, and who knows where that attitude could lead. gays on a plane? >> i like the idea of the gay gravy train. that's the solution to all of our problems. thank you, kent. we didn't have the family research council, we would invent them. appreciate it. coming up on "countdown" keith looks at the growing call to boycott target after target
donated $150,000 to a rather surprising place, given target's other policies. next on this show, one government's crackdown on the lowly blackberry. stay with us. and when they're laughing... you're laughing. be kind to your eyes... with transitions lenses. transitions adapt to changing light so you see your whole day comfortably... and conveniently while protecting your eyes from the sun. ask your eyecare professional which transitions lenses are right for you. why go one more round ? you don't need a rematch, but a rethink. with lunesta.
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so yesterday i was walking my dog in a state forest in western mass. my state, like every state now, is broke, so the parks are unstaffed for the season, but still doesn't matter. me and the neighbors still walk our dogs there. so there i am in the middle of the woods when all of a sudden, i hear a birdsong i have never heard. now, i didn't know what kind it was. so i took out my blackberry and i turned on the little application where you can record voice notes for yourself, and i recorded this bird. [ bird singing ] >> i would try -- yeah.
can we try it one more time? yeah. all right. so it didn't come out great but you get what i was trying to do. my personal bird vocabulary is sort of limited. i can do crow versus raven, i can do seagulls, a few other embarrassing greatest hits but not really any of the detailed stuff. this was new to me so i made this recording on the blackberry and i sent it to my girlfriend, susan, who laughed at me so hard that she forgot to tell me whether or not she can identify the bird, either. i still don't know what it is. but i tried. now, as an american citizen i was perfectly free to take out this device and record the sound of the bird. the part where it gets really great is i could also send that sound as a message and i could get a reply, could get information and give information on my own time, at my own choosing in my own way. if that whole scene had happened in dubai, i would have been able to record that birdsong, sure, but the government would have stopped me from e-mailing it to anyone. they announced yesterday they will be turning off blackberry
service in october, just turning it off. e-mail, messaging, web browsing, because the government there considers the free sending of information back and forth over this device to be a security threat. i was in dubai last month on my way to afghanistan and while i was there, i used my blackberry to send out some really blurry pictures from the airport. the whole world was blurry after flying for 12 hours but i sent those really blurry pictures using my blackberry, i sent them over to someone in new york who posted them on the maddow blog right away. look, i spend most time in public, most of my time in public, as part of this big apparatus called television which takes tons of hours and human labor to get from 30 rock here to you at home. if an evil regime wanted to censor us, we would be very easy to find here. when it's just one sleep-deprived person sending blurry photos from the airport in dubai when it's that light and fast and unimpeded, that's a very difficult form of broadcasting to stop. that's what makes this aspect of the digital age so dangerous for
governments like the one in the united arab emirates. they lose control of the information we are sending. this decision has been made because the company that makes blackberrys uses a system to protect the privacy of messages and that system makes them so private that the emirates government has trouble spying on them. the blackberry's ability to encrypt our messages has outrun that government's ability to read those messages and if the government of the united arab emirates cannot read those messages it doesn't want people to be able to send them. the story of the uae shutting off blackberry service is about a lot more than a middle eastern country cracking down on thumb typing. the line that distinguishes organized media like us here in the studio from everyday human beings without jobs in the organized media, that line has gotten a lot more dotted in recent years. there's still a big important place for professional reporting and writing and editing and story telling but ordinary people frankly got the word out about the uprising in iran last
year. one tweet at a time, one youtube clip at a time. in haiti this year, people used twitter and flickr and face book to figure out who was still trapped in the rubble and to send messages about where supplies were most desperately needed. when flash flooding devastated nashville this spring and few outside the region noticed, the people of nashville kept the story alive on twitter and on their own blogs. they let the world know themselves. democratic societies like ours have a romantic and fervently defended tradition of freedom of the press. freedom of the capital p press is among our most sacred principles. we defend it almost reflexively but there is a new threat in town for governments with something to fear. that threat is you and it is me. not you, the viewer, and me, the cable news host, but you and me, sleepy person in the dubai airport who is sending a picture out. you and me trying to identify a bird call over e-mail. you and me writing an angry note about the ministry of justice or sitting in china trying to
google the background of a national official or downloading a movie that has been banned or starting a discussion about a policy that we as individual humans don't like. you and me, communicating freely with each other. that, that simple act outside the organized media is so dangerous, is so powerful, has had such an impact already in the short time that it has existed on this earth, that it terrifies enormous emerging superpowers like china. it also apparently terrifies small nations like the united arab emirates. the thing that scares them really is you and me talking, exchanging information and ideas on our own terms. that is becoming the most dangerous thing in the world and so defending it is becoming one of the most important fights for freedom in the world. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow night. meanwhile, theres to add to what you see on the show. we are very proud of our excellent blog at maddow